HYDERABAD:The National Science Day celebrations by the Andhra Pradesh Akademy of Sciences at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) on Saturday were marred by protests by research scholars demanding implementation of hike in research fellowships which were recently announced by the Union government.
The research scholars from different departments held a protest in front of the Life Sciences building where the National Science Day was being celebrated in the presence of scientists from DRDO, IICT and NGRI. However the celebrations continued despite protests.
Condemning the delay in sanctioning of the fellowships, the scholars recently gave a call for boycotting the National Science Day celebrations across the country. A facebook page ‘Hike Research Fellowship’ has been widely promoting the slogan ‘boycott Science Day’ for the past few days on social media.
However, the UoH administration blamed the national funding agencies like University Grants Commission (UGC) for dealy in sanctioning of fellowships. Prof E Haribabu, vice-chancellor, UoH, said, “The university is already facing fund shortage. Unless we receive additional funds from the funding agencies, we cannot release any money for fellowships.”
Though the research scholars were receiving the sanction letters from the UGC, the money will be sanctioned only once a year. It is the universities which have to pay to the scholars throughout the year and get reimbursement from the national bodies at end of the year, Haribabu said. Recently the Union government had announced hike in both junior and senior research fellowships and for research associates -I, II, III.
Scholars alleged that the hike is not being implemented for the current fellowship and that the fellowships were not being released on a monthly basis. “The fellowships in UoH have been stopped in December last and many of us are still waiting for pending fellowships for the past six months,” a PhD student at UoH, said.